WEST LAFAYETTE | Astronaut Jerry Ross on Thursday donated papers, artifacts and memorabilia from his space travels to the Virginia Kelly Karnes Archives and Special Collections Research Center.
The material includes artifacts from his time as a Purdue student, including his research thesis, photographs, test pilot manuals and flight checklists from work on the B-1 aircraft at Edwards Air Force Base.
He also is donating documents and artifacts from his long NASA career.
"The collection includes documents and artifacts that provide insight into Jerry's Indiana childhood, his education and student life at Purdue, and his career as an Air Force engineer and NASA astronaut," said Tracy Grimm, the Barron Hilton Archivist for Flight and Space Exploration in Purdue Libraries Division of Archives and Special Collections.
"Jerry was one of the few astronauts with NASA before the first shuttle launch through the last shuttle touchdown in 2011, and his papers can provide a window through which students and scholars may begin to understand and take measure of the era of the U.S. space shuttle program."
Ross, an Air Force ROTC student at Purdue from Crown Point, received his undergraduate degree in 1970 and master's degree in mechanical engineering in 1972 from the university. He was a NASA astronaut from 1980 until his retirement in January 2012.
Ross is one of only three astronauts to serve throughout the entire space shuttle program. He holds the world record for the number of launches at seven with one other person and ranks third in the world for his nine spacewalks. He was among the first astronauts to enter the International Space Station in orbit, played a key role in recovering pieces of the Columbia Shuttle after its tragic accident and helped develop facilities, tools and techniques that continue to be used in space today.
Ross' collection includes mission manuals, checklists, reports, original 16-mm films and videos taken before, during and after shuttle launches, his blue NASA flight suit, patches, test pilot school flight helmet and several awards and plaques.